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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

RCMP Taser policy a positive development

OTTAWA, May 4, 2010/CNW Telbec/

The Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP (CPC) is encouraged by today's RCMP conducted energy weapon (Taser) policy announcement. The policy changes represent a significant improvement in RCMP protocols governing the use of the Taser.

The key change is the definition provided for situations where a trained RCMP member might use a Taser, namely: "situations where a subject is causing bodily harm or the member believes on reasonable grounds that the subject will imminently cause bodily harm."

"This clearly defined threshold requirement for Taser use should help reduce the risk of 'usage creep,'" said Ian McPhail, Interim CPC Chair. "This change, along with the recognition that additional precautions must be taken before using the weapon, is a prudent move on the part of the RCMP."

In addition to the revisions to policy, discussions are continuing to address outstanding CPC recommendations, including the need for mandatory medical attention after every Taser use, as injuries may not be visible or apparent to the RCMP member, nor will the member necessarily be aware of any underlying medical conditions of the subject. There also remains the recommendation to generally limit the CEW to members with five years or more of experience (except those on specialized teams).

The CPC will be following up with the RCMP on its CEW training and how this new policy will be implemented throughout the RCMP over the coming months.

In the coming weeks, the CPC will release its analysis of the RCMP's usage of the CEW during 2009.

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